2020-04-15 - A New Direction


Training restarts with Ken

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Apr 15 08:11:00 2020
Location: Clocktower

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Barbara had said she would continue her lessons with Ken and tonight, will be the test of that. It's after dusk when the redhead arrives at the dojo, moving slowly - still using the cane that has become her trademark. She's in her usual outfit for training - enough to disguise just how muscular her legs really are.

The redhead pauses at the door, partially to take her shoes off and put them neatly against the wall. And partially to ensure she is welcome.

Kennuichio is, as usual, sweeping with a simple straw broom. He bows slightly as Babs comes in. "There will be tea in a moment. Then we can get started, Barbara-san." He knows now that the cane is a bit of dodge. She does still sort of need it but she's much more mobile than she lets on. Much, MUCH more mobile.

Soon enough he comes to pour and make the tea and slides a cup over to Babs. "Just the way you like it." He says quietly.

Barbara pauses and looks at Kennuichio before picking up a broom to assist him. She doesn't say anything, just lets the routine and the sound the brooms make sooth her. When that's done, the redhead makes her way to the room in the back and lowering herself to the cushions. She really had hurt herself the other night when her home was invaded and it shows at the moment.

"You are … too kind, Kennuichio-san." She says, not looking up from the cup. Her hair, which is currently unbound, forms a red veil over the side of her face. "I … do not deserve it."

"Why? Because you had kept a secret?" It's not that she had deceived him per se. It is that she kept a secret. That she had something that she thought for the sake of her and others needed to be kept silent.

He understands that. It is not the way he lives… but he understands that.

"I do not think there is anyone really who has fallen short of what is required to deserve a good cup of tea."

But then it's not tea she's talking about is it?

"I didn't lie to you, not exactly. But I wasn't honest in my dealings on things. So yes?" Those green eyes come up meeting his at long last "And the tea is appreciated. Particularly a cup so well brewed as this. I meant though, that you are gracious for forgiving me."

Babs would be pragmatic when came to others. Why is she being so hard on herself?

"I would be a hypocrite not to do so. Besides, I of all people understand keeping secrets to prevent others pain. The Japanese do the same all the time." It's not that the Japanese are culturally dishonest. It's that they don't place the same value on directness or factual truth that Westerners do. Far better to save face, even in the modern era. So yes. Ken understands.

"I would not have invited you back into my dojo, very much my sacred space, if I did not think you deserved to be here."

Barbara offers a small smile over the rim of her cup. "I suppose you are right, Kennuichio-san. I am sorry though, that I didn't tell you and you had to discover it the way that you did. It is not easy … to find friends … "

The redhead takes a deep breath before continuing.

"… much less one like yourself. And I hope that I never betray your faith in inviting me back here."

She studies the man carefully though. Wondering what secrets he's kept. She, and Oracle, have found lots of information in on him but there's things that he's managed to keep hidden. No mean feat in todays world.

"I do not think you will." Ken says sipping his tea. He knows he has his own secrets. Nothing quite so much like another identity or life but things that he does not share about himself. Things that never made it into the papers and magazines and official reports. And there were quite a few of those. Things like the Black Blade and why he carries it.

"So, tell me, now that we are not hiding things, what is it you wish me to teach you. Is it simply how to fight and strengthen your back? Or is there more you had hoped to learn?"

The Black Blade. Babs has asked Ken about that once before and he hadn't answered. It's not likely she'll ask him again. At least not unless invited to. Still, she's curious - she's felt its effects.

"What do I want …. you to teach me?" That brings Barbara back to the here and now rather soundly. "I … I hadn't thought on that, really beyond the fact that I enjoy our training and it's been helping. You've seen how I fight, the techniques I use when I'm in the field. I'm not the type to get into the frey unless I have to, I prefer to use my brains and my athleticism. Perhaps … you have suggestions there…."

"Perhaps I do. You may need to carry longer sticks though." Ken gets up from the table, unusually, and comes back with a bokken.

"Very little of this is related to how hard you can hit. Very few of the techniques I use require the raw strength needed to hack through… anything. Everything about blade work is about control. Place your body and blade, and the enemy's body and blade, where you wish it to go. This is the essence of the sword. Perhaps there is something there you might find useful."

Finesse is really more important than strength even when wielding very large blades, even when using two hands.

"Longer sticks …" Barbara bites her tongue on the rather ribald comment that comes to mind, eyebrows rising as Ken rises. That is unusual, tea time is rather a ritual - one that she has come to enjoy.

"There is wisdom in what you're what saying and it is something I can use. Have you considered how I might carry something longer when I move, though?" She has ideas on that already, a collapsable design may well work.

She eyes the bokken as he holds it "I think I would like to try." She hasn't reached for it. She's not sure if he intends her to.

Ken makes a few moves, more advanced than he had been teaching her. There is indeed a fluidity and grace to the footwork. And she can see that it is far more about precision and position than it is about anything else.

"Nothing traditional but a folding design may work. Or something that collapses. I am not an engineer nor a bladesmith but I am sure someone sufficiently clever could think of something and you do not seem to have any shortage of contacts in that direction."

"And you would teach me to do this?" The footwork she means. It will take work for her - she's good but there's still problems associated with her recovery. It certainly suits her style.

"I'm sure I do or could design it myself." There's a lovely engineer working for Wayne Enterprises that she'll visit, in fact. Once she knows what she's looking for.

"That type of design will have an inherent weakness, though. That is something I will need to work with when I use it."


"I will, yes. If you wish to learn." It's not just footwork. It's blade control. It's striking technique. It's a thorough knowledge of what the options are at any given stage of a fight and the ability to pick the one that will force your enemy to make a choice between bad and worse options. Sword duels, like wars, are often won far before the fatal blow is landed.

"Most people would not have the resources to work around such a weakness. Fortunately I think that you do. And you will have a superior teacher." Well. He is, is he not? He was after all one of the premier swordsmen in Japan and that's a nation that takes its blades very seriously.

Barbara is quiet for a long moment - Ken will be getting used to that. It's unusual for the redhead to react without thought - clearly something she's put a lot of work into.

"And yes, I will have a superior teacher." A very gracious one. Who seems to enjoy her company. "When do we start, Kennuichio-San?"

It's strange how she doesn't press too much on his background. Or perhaps it isn't. Barbara is used to keeping secrets after all.

"Just as soon as we are finished with the tea." Ken says as he approaches the table and sits back down to take a drink. "Good things should not be rushed. That applies to tea as will as sword practice. Rushing ruins them."

That could be applied to a great many things actually but it is a very, very Japanese sentiment. Babs will get used to that. Ken is after all very, very Japanese.

"Of course, when we finish tea." Babs will get this used to this, if they continue to see each other. Ken might decide she's a liability. Or just a bother. Maybe. "And is that so, good things aren't to be rushed?"

The redhead breathes out a long slow breathe. It's like she's been holding it … forever.

"I … will be patrolling most nights. If you would like to join me …"

"If you don't mind my particular methods then I would like that." Samurai and Batgirl had come to an arrangement. He won't kill if he doesn't think he needs to but the moment he thinks his safety or someone else's is compromised he won't hesitate. Perhaps Batgirl is feeling differently about that in the aftermath of her experiences.

She did after all have a very close encounter with the supernatural. After which Samurai had a close encounter with her.

"Of course good things are not to be rushed. Name one that is better for it."

"I do mind. You know that. However, after what I have seen - I question many things." When it comes to humans though, Barbara is likely to challenge Ken on the matter. With the feel of that Black Blade, she might be what he needs. "I think it will do us both good to have the other."

One day, when they know each other better, she might discover what it was does to the man when he draws it.

Nothing good, she's sure. Not from the sense of it.

There's a mischevious glint in Babs eyes as Ken makes that statement. "Oh, I can think of at least one thing that *occassionally* is better when rushed."

"Perhaps we will be. Shall I meet you tonight then?" Ken smiles a small smile and sips his tea. "Well. It won't be our training tonight. Now, are you prepared? We should stretch." It's especially important to keep Babs flexible because, well, the consequences of not doing so could not only ruin her evening but deprive the Island of a protector at a time when it can ill afford such a loss.

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